Master glass works on display

The Corning Museum of Glas,s in Corning, N.Y., is presenting Botanical Wonders: The Story of the Harvard Glass Flowers from May 18 to Nov. 25. The exhibition explores the works of master glassmakers Leopold Blaschka (1822-1895) and his son Rudolf (1857-1939) and their relation to academic botany.

The Harvard Museum of Natural History will lend 17 of its glass flowers for the exhibit, and they will be accompanied by 25 other Blaschka works of sea life. The exhibit will feature for the first time ever, Blaschkas’ botanical drawings in pencil and watercolours. The renderings are notated in preparation for glass working. Also included will be a selection of period photographs, personal papers, business records and wax and paper mache models from the Blaschka family.

Before high-speed image media, it was very difficult to preserve invertebrates, as well as other organisms for academic study. It was in this time that the Blaschka botanic glassworks were highly valued.

“The Blaschkas were two of the greatest glassmakers who have ever lived,” says David Whitehouse, executive director of the Corning Museum. He describes the father and son as the last in a line of glassmakers dating back to 15th-century Venice.

A companion volume to Botanical Wonders titled Drawing Upon Nature: Studies for the Blaschkas’ Glass Models, is available and features 60 examples of the father and son’s work.

Also coming to the Corning Museum of Glass is the Curiosities of Glassmaking exhibition, April 1 to Oct. 21, which showcases an assortment of unusual glass objects from the museum’s collection such as prosthetic eyes, glass fire grenades and witches balls.

The Corning Museum of Glass, a non-profit educational institution, is home to a collection of over 45,000 objects from across 3,500 years of glassmaking history. It aims to enhance and promote the appreciation of glass art. For more information